ARE, Sweden — Lindsey Vonn, preparing for the final two races of her career, said her ailing knees felt fine after the opening downhill training session Monday at the Alpine Skiing World Championships.
Vonn placed 11th, 1.44 seconds behind leader Tamara Tippler of Austria.
“I was just trying to get a feel for the terrain, and I wasn’t looking to be fast, so in general, it was fine. It was solid,” Vonn said. “Hard going No. 1. I didn’t really get the line right, but my knee feels decent, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens.”
Vonn started with the No. 1 bib Monday. She stood up out of her tuck well before she crossed the finish line.
Vonn, who has persistent pain in both knees, announced last week that she is retiring after the championships because her body is “broken beyond repair.” She is the world’s most famous ski racer, raising the sport’s profile more than anyone else.
She will race the super-G on Tuesday and the downhill Sunday.
Shiffrin rests: Aiming to stay fresh for Tuesday’s super-G medal race, overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin did not fully take part in Monday’s downhill training session.
Shiffrin inspected the course to get a feel for the hill but then sat out the training. The U.S. Ski Team said Shiffrin will not race the downhill in Are, adding, “she will make a decision about the Alpine combined after super-G and will announce at that point.”
Though known for her exploits in slalom and giant slalom — she has won Olympic golds in both events — Shiffrin has become dominant in super-G this season.
Shiffrin has won all three World Cup super-Gs she has entered this season and leads the discipline standings.
Rapid return: Norwegian skier Kjetil Jansrud said he hopes to race in the super-G on Wednesday, two weeks after breaking two bones in his left hand in a crash in downhill training.
Jansrud, the Olympic super-G champion in 2014 and a worlds silver medalist in 2017, says the injury should take six weeks to heal but he’s willing to race with “some sort of handicap.”
Holding out his swollen hand at a media conference, Jansrud said, “I have had a few days’ skiing to try it. And in my personal experience, it’s working. It’s actually skiable.”
The 33-year-old hurt his hand as he tried to break a fall on an icy stretch of the Kitzbuehel classic.
He said, “It could be an issue going out the start and holding the pole. If someone gives me the chance of taking away the few percent I will lose on the start but being able to compete, I would rather do that than not.”
Rough start: Skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka was the only racer to crash in the opening downhill training session.
Ledecka couldn’t properly land a jump on the steep, upper portion of the course and crashed near the safety netting Monday. The Czech quickly raised an arm to signal that she was not injured.
“Last year, we didn’t have this jump there, because we started under it. So I didn’t know what to expect from this jump,” Ledecka said. “I saw many girls and nobody had the problem there, so I expected it’s not going to be that huge, and I didn’t make the right moves in the right time and then I was flying like an idiot.”
A year ago, at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Ledecka followed her super-G victory in Alpine skiing by winning the parallel GS in snowboarding, becoming the first athlete to win two golds at the same Winter Games using two different types of equipment.
Ledecka will attempt to add to her medal haul in the super-G, the opening event of these championships, Tuesday.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Near-career-s-end-Lindsey-Vonn-s-knees-pass-13589499.php.